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Nine-year-old youngest to climb Aconcagua

BUENOS AIRES — A nine-year-old boy from Southern California has become the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Argentina’s Aconcagua mountain, which at 6,962 metres is the tallest peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres. Tyler Armstrong of Yorba Linda reached the summit on Christmas Eve with his father Kevin and a Tibetan sherpa, Lhawang Dhondup, who has climbed Mount Everest on multiple occasions. They were in fine spirits yesterday as they left Aconcagua, whose sheer precipices and bitter cold have claimed more than 100 climbers’ lives.

Only 30 percent of the 7,000 people who obtain permits to climb Aconcagua each year make the summit, said Nicolas Garcia, who handled their logistics from down below. No one under 14 is usually allowed, so the family had to hire a lawyer and persuade an Argentine judge that Tyler could safely accomplish the feat.

“Any kid can really do this, all they have to do is try. And set their mind to the goal,” said Tyler, who worked out twice a day for a year and a half to prepare for the climb. He also held fundraisers to get sponsorship to lower the cost of the expedition and to raise money for CureDuchenne, a charity which funds muscular dystrophy research.

There was one younger boy who climbed the lower slopes of Aconcagua, Garcia noted: an Inca boy was sacrificed some 500 years ago on Piramide, one of the mountain’s lower peaks. Scientific tests on the mummy, recovered in 1985, put his age at about seven.

— AP

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